4

August 31, 2007

4

days

until

Auralia

makes her way out into the world.

This morning, I was sitting in a coffee shop chatting online with Kristopher Orr, the artist who created that amazing imagery on the cover of Auralia’s Colors. We were brainstorming the cover imagery for the sequel, Cyndere’s Midnight. And who should come up to the table and surprise me with a handshake but David Bazan, a fellow whose fearless songwriting means a lot to me. (Have you heard the lyrics on his latest EP, “Fewer Moving Parts”? That kind of honesty is so powerful, it’s unsettling.) 

We talked for a while about music (Vigilantes of Love, Aracade Fire), and about what we’ve been reading. Bazan mentioned he had just finished reading Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, an unforgettable, harrowing journey that I myself just finished.  Have you read it? It’s McCarthy’s most accessible work, but it may also be his most haunting. I’ve read four of his books, and it’s quite different than the rest. It’s a nightmare that’s difficult to shake. By imagining a world after the apocalypse, he shows us a world so devastated, so devoid of beauty, that we find ourselves with renewed appreciation and hunger for the kind of beauty that surrounds us every day. And we’re reminded that we should be cultivating relationships of love and trust, because those bonds are all too fragile. Companionship is a privilege.

I gave Bazan a copy of Auralia’s Colors.  

I’m finding that there is something different about sharing Auralia’s Colors with an artist. I realize that this story took me through so many questions and struggles about the role of art, the source of art, and the influence of art on the people who encounter it, that I think artists might have a different understanding of the story than anyone else. We’ll see.

Whether you’re an artist or not, I’ll be very interested in your thoughts on the story. After all, if art was not important to you in some way shape or form, why would you bother reading fiction at all?’

Four more days, and there she goes. It’s like sending my kid off to college. Will she find a quiet, secretive path through the world? If she finds only a few readers, it will be worth all of the trouble for the pleasure I had writing the story, and for what I learned along the way. If those readers respond and we get to talk about the story, its strengths and weaknesses, and the questions that Auralia explores, that will be an even greater privilege.

We’ll see what happens.

I loved the journey of writing it. I do sincerely hope that you enjoy it. Nothing would please me more.

Looks like Auralia’s Colors has reached the attention of voracious reader and reviewer Harriet Klausner, at World of Wonders.

Harriet says:

The first Auralia Thread tale is a magical inspirational fairy tale fantasy that brings to life the Overstreet world filled with colorful creatures like beastmen, vawns and the enigmatic Keeper. The story line is fast-paced with an obvious homage towards Narnia. Auralia is a fascinating character who keeps the story line anchored as her re-coloring the kngdom puts her on a potentially lethal confrontation with King Cal-marcus who has implemented his wife’s demand of a colorless realm.

Auralia has been discovered by Deena in Yuba City, CA!

She writes:

Sitting at my desk at work, I had just finished reading what many are calling the definitive fantasy novel, and discovered I had developed a craving for fantasy. But not just any fantasy… I wanted something with a point… something with that epic feel that celebrated God and His creation, but was unique and different. I did my usual thing, which was browsing the new release Christian fiction at Christianbook.com… when I stumbled upon a rather intriguing looking cover. Further investigation revealed a new fantasy series on the horizon, and when I did a web search, I found it was generating quite a buzz. I hunted down and downloaded the first chapter of Auralia’s Colors, and I found myself captivated. What was this wonderful girl I had found, and what secrets did she hide within her pages?? I peeked at the release date, and was SO dismayed… I can’t wait. I must have more Auralia!!

Well, Deena, I certainly hope you can wait! I’m not sure I could live with the guilt if anything happened to you!

But seriously, I’m glad you enjoyed the first chapter. Yes, the first chapter reveals the discovery of a strange girl who will grow up to wield formidable talents. And that’s good news for some, bad for others.

This book that you just finished reading… it wouldn’t happen to be a book about a boy wizard, would it? Just a hunch. (Scroll down to the revealing photograph below, in which that book makes a cameo appearance.)

Speaking of Harry Potter… you know, like the rest of the world knows, that Harry has a curious scar on his forehead.

In Auralia’s Colors, there is a young boy of mysterious parentage who has a scar on his forehead. I am bracing myself for the onslaught of accusations about that detail, so let me set the record straight right now: I wrote the first draft of Auralia’s Colors in 1996, before I had ever heard of Harry Potter or J. K. Rowling. The boy in my story was first described as having a frightful burn mark, shaped like a mouse, on his forehead. This was a clue to the fact that this child survived some kind of close encounter with fire in his infancy.

Of course, since then I’ve noticed that there are boys with memorable scars in the work of Patricia McKillip, Frank Herbert, and many other imaginative writers as well. So no, it’s not the most original detail in the story, and if I had it to do over again I might write it differently. But it is in no way inspired by Mr. Potter. I promise. And this boy is quite a different chap than young Harry.

I am already overwhelmed. Auralia’s Colors is earning some fantastic reviews and high praise from notable readers and publications.

I’m mailing out copies of the book to those who are interested in writing and publishing reviews.

Would you like to write a review or perform an interview? Let me know. I’ll get you a copy even before it arrives in stores.

And stay tuned: This weekend, I’ll have an mp3 for you. I’m recording an excerpt from the first chapter, so you can hear me read it. (That’ll help clear up any disagreements about name pronounciation.)

Ballyworms! There’s an intriguing little tease at the end of this blog entry over at The Swivet… 

I’m working on a review of the best new fantasy novel you’ve never heard of: Auralia’s Colors by another debut novelist, Jeffrey Overstreet. You’ve never heard of it because it’s published – oddly enough – by a Christian publisher; however, this isn’t a Christian book. Anyway, the review should be up by the end of the week.